Opinion: How I failed my UME woefully – Please, don’t repeat my error

by  Chinonso Ogbogu

If there is one thing that experience thought me, it’s the fact that the fear of failure is a precursor to failure. The fear of failure, as a matter of fact, is the pathway to failure!  

My Internet subscription recently got expired and I had to use a cyber café a few blocks from my office. Located on the first floor of a three-storey, spacious edifice, the ambiance of this cyber café is usually serene and it offers me some relative sense of privacy. But when I walked into the cyber café that fateful day, things were different! The place was boisterously crowded; besieged by different ilk of youths trying to devour cyber space.

“What’s happening? I mean, why is the cyber café crowded today?” I enquired of a female staff.

“Oh, they’re here to check their UME results,” the staff civilly replied. (To my non-Nigerian readers, UME is an acronym for University Matriculation Examination, a yearly exam usually organized by the Joint Admission Matriculation Board, alias JAMB, for admission into the university.)

Just as my mind was trying to process what to do next, whether to leave or to stay, a young lady cried out, “Thank God! 241!”

Of course, that startled me, but when I saw the joie de vivre that her face bore, I had a brisk, mental veer, and the score I had in my UME some years back, like a big signboard, got displayed on my mind! Immediately, I grinned, made my way to the exit, and then the cyber café.

My UME score was terrible, nay, it was a disaster – I failed woefully! And today, I will tell you why.

So here goes the abridged tale. The build-up to my UME exam was terrific – apparently, I had everything figured out, at least so I thought. I spent several weeks attending intensive evening classes and I even registered with a well-known library where I visited each morning to read up on the four subjects at hand. My daily routine then could actually be summarized as follows: Visit the library by 8am, study till about 5pm, go to evening class by 6pm, and then burn the midnight oil from 11pm to about 2am. I study like crazy!

In fact, the day before the exam proper, I studied non-stop from 3pm to about 8:05am the following day before I hurriedly left for the exam venue. My dad thought I was insane. Well, as for me, I believed I was armed to the teeth to face the battle ahead. However, when the exam started, something else took over me. It was the theory that said: If you ticked the wrong answer, JAMB would automatically deduct some marks from your overall score. (I guess you’re familiar with that theory, aren’t you?) And since I was afraid of ticking the wrong answers, I began to skip many of the questions and then gradually I became edgy, like a cat on hot bricks! To cut a long story short, the exam ended. But when the results were released and I checked my score, I had my tail between my legs! I scored 180… sorry, I mean, 180

“Okay Chinonso, why exactly did you fail?” you may want to still ask. Well, I failed because I was afraid of failing.

If there is one thing that experience taught me, it’s the fact that the fear of failure is a precursor to failure. The fear of failure, as a matter of fact, is the pathway to failure! Therefore, are you currently caught in that same boat in life as I was? Have you actually been placing a limit to what you can achieve simply because you’re afraid of failing? Do you carry a great vision yet you’ve allowed it, wittingly or unwittingly, to gather dust just because your mind keeps showing to you the ifs and the buts video?

Have you delayed in showcasing your innate gifts simply because you don’t want people to laugh at your goof? Or perhaps, due to fear of failure, you’ve resorted to ticking the cheap dreams of life while allowing the great ones to elude you. Well, whichever be the case, the truth is that time has come for you to grow. I mean, you cannot afford to hold yourself down with such self-limiting mindset when it’s so obvious that you carry enormous potentials on your inside that the entire cosmos is waiting for.

Listen, your subconscious mind is activated by the messages it receives and then it goes ahead to create its physical equivalent. In other words, if you keep on sending the fear-of-failure message, your subconscious mind will receive it and then it will feed you back with an outcome that’s equal to failure. But then, you could actually make this same Law to work in your favour. Rather than feed your subconscious mind with the fear of failure, you could actually feed it with the beauty of couragefaith, and self-confidence.

Believe me, when you do that, with time, you will realize that the fear of failure is only a natural illusion designed – of course, by you – to stop you from maximizing your potentials and rising to the top. Look, Chinonso believes in your limitless capacity to attain true success. Hence, please don’t repeat my (UME) error. I beg you!


About the author:  Chinonso Ogbogu is a business consultant, prolific writer, strategic thinker, radio personality, and a highly sought-after motivational speaker. He is the radio host of SuccessMatters, a leading, life-transforming radio programme created to illuminate the path of individuals to live a life of true success and significance. He resides currently in Enugu, Nigeria.


Editor’s note: Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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Comments (7)

  1. nice work chinonso, keep up the good job..


  2. U have definitely touched souls with this piece of work including me and I pray God continues to use you to inspire the young misled ones.keep it up bro

  3. Very encouraging and motivational article by chinonso on how we can do away with our conscious and subconscious thought of not pulling through in some areas we thought is insurmountable.thanks for reawakening our we can excel spirit.

  4. He who works knows and respect the future.you will only be remembered for what you do and what you are doing.keep it up.

  5. its mind blowing!i did like dis aspect dat talkd about "self limiting mindset".its obvious dat some of us has being eaten up deeply wit d fear of failure sydrome.well i think its high we start moving and acting by faith so we can hv a renewed mindset dat says "I CAN".nonso welldone!

cool good eh love2 cute confused notgood numb disgusting fail